On last week’s “Wellness Wednesday,” we talked about the one thing that separates success from failure in personal development. Do you remember what it was?
If you want to change a habit, lose weight, or remodel your life in any way, there is an unending flood of information available on the internet, but nothing will ever change for you until you apply that information to your life with action.
There are three types of people when it comes to maintaining their health. I used to think there were two, but I’ve found there are three. I don’t come across the third one in my practice very often, but I see them around town all the time.
The first type of person doesn’t want to do anything about their health. They want to eat whatever they want, drink whatever they want, and hope for the best. These are the same people who, when their health inevitably takes a bad turn, expect their medical doctor to give them a magic pill to fix everything and make it all better.
I don’t know a lot of these people, because by the time they have come to my office, their health is so far off the rails they have to do something dramatic to have a meaningful course correction. Eventually, modern medical science lets them down, because the side effects and counter indications of all their medications become unmanageable. They come to me as a last-ditch effort because they heard someone share their story of coming back from the brink.
I remember meeting Michael at a wedding reception many years ago. We were talking about work and when he found out I was a wellness coach, he laughed. “I eat what I want to eat,” he said, “and I enjoy junk food. If I ever get sick, I go to the doctor, get a pill and get back to work. It’s just that simple.” I hope it really was that simple for him. I kind of doubt it, though.
The second type of person is a researcher, always learning about the latest diet and nutrition news. I can respect that; I’m a learner, too. If I’m not at the office working with patients or teaching classes, I’m reading medical journals and attending seminars, developing my knowledge and skill so I can be the best wellness coach for you.
But just like we talked about last week, the difference between goals and results is application of the knowledge you take in. One of my friends was a real bookworm. He had a copy of every new business book that came out. He’d read them and put them back on the shelf, but I never saw it change his behavior, and so his business never grew beyond a certain point. I know that business owners all over the country were reading the same books and getting results, but he just stayed in place. Now, I think he had some limiting beliefs about himself that kept him down, but that’s a topic for another article. All the knowledge in the world can’t get you past the limits you impose on yourself with your thoughts.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” says King Solomon.
Don’t You Want Something Better?
One of the biggest frustrations I have as a healthcare professional is when I show people a path to wellness and they don’t take it. After all, they came to me, paid my fee, and asked me to apply my knowledge to their situation, so you would think they would have a personal investment in getting results. I show them a healthier way to eat and move, but they take that knowledge and leave it. They want to feel better, enjoy more energy, think more clearly, and move without pain, but when it comes to changing the behaviors that got them where they are, they just don’t ever take that next step. My heart hurts for them, but it’s ultimately their choice. I can’t hold anyone’s hand or make them do anything they don’t choose to do themselves.
It reminds me of a story from the Bible where Jesus was walking by the pool of Bethesda. He saw a man who had been waiting for 38 years for someone to help him get into the pool where he could get treatment for his disease. When Jesus asked if he really wanted to be well, the man gave him an excuse about nobody helping him. The problem was, he had given up his vision of wellness. He had lost hope and had turned to expecting someone else to do it for him.
I catch myself being that guy in different areas of my life, but it’s important to me that I grow past that. I don’t want to be stuck being dependent on someone else.
The third type of person I come across is my favorite. I mean, I love all my patients, but I have a special place in my heart for people who come in looking for help, accept my help, put it into practice in their lives, and get results. That is the most gratifying thing I experience. I consider them my “success stories,” but the truth is, I could only lead them to information. I didn’t do any more for them than I did for the Researchers, but they got totally different results.
What was the difference? Not their age, weight, gender, or background. The only difference between patients who get results and those who don’t is who applies the information and who doesn’t.
You Are The Difference
The Scoffers and the Researchers are great people, but they never take personal responsibility for their own health. They want someone to tell them what to do or to just take a magic pill that makes all their problems go away. Sure, they might get some relief for a short time. They might really make some improvement, but until they own the knowledge for themselves and apply it consistently in their own lives, they won’t be able to sustain it or advance it.
People who take ownership of their own health seek out knowledge about how to live a healthier, more vibrant life, then apply that knowledge to their lifestyle on a daily basis. They change how they think, how they eat, how they move, and how they live. Those changes might be a little uncomfortable at first, but they press through because they understand that their long-term improvement is on the other side of their commitment to consistency.
It Carries Over Everywhere
But it gets better. Once they see results in one area of their lives, they apply that same skill to a different area and get results. For example, they implement a morning routine where they get up 15 minutes earlier to pray or read. After a few weeks, it becomes a habit and they start waking up ahead of their alarm. Then they decide to cultivate a habit of drinking 8 ounces of water once an hour while they are at work. They saw some results from the first lifestyle change, so now they feel empowered to take on a new one. They believe in themselves and their ability to change. Even if they forget a few times, they keep at it and don’t give up.
The key is, they don’t need me to tell them, because they own it. They made the conscious decision to change and they are committed to the outcome. These are the people who go on to accomplish great things with their lives. Small successes compound and become great successes.
Why I Won’t Write A Diet Book
People ask me all the time to publish a diet plan, but I won’t do it. For there are plenty of reasons for this. For starters, the nutrition plan that works for you won’t work for the next person the same way because you are starting at different places — you are different ages, weights, and chemical compositions. Some people need a little more protein than others; some people can’t handle any grains, while their spouse can. Eating plans are as custom as your fingerprint and I would be doing you a massive disservice to try to give you a “one-size-fits-all” plan. Not going to happen.
But even after I give you a customized plan based on your unique metabolic indexes, it’s up to you to follow through on it. You have to decide if you are willing to follow my recommendations for what to eat and what to avoid. I can’t do that part. I’m always so grateful when I see patients rise up and take action for themselves. I know they are personally invested in their own outcomes. I know they will succeed.
So, which type of person are you?
If you are an Applier, I would love to help you chart a course for nutrition and movement to maximize your wellness. I would love to cheer you on to victory. If you live in Southwest Floridan I invite you to come to my office on Pine Ridge Road behind the YMCA in Naples and let’s talk through it. In fact, I’ve made it easy to get started with a low-commitment entry point. Join me Thursday, October 3rd for the first Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner of the season. I do 9 or 10 of these a year, always on the first Thursday of the month. It’s a powerful night of teaching, where you can enjoy a nice meal and meet some terrific people. I hope to see you at the next one.
In the meantime, be sure to take a few seconds right now to share this article on your favorite social media channel. You never know who else is looking for a little guidance like this.
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas